THE team behind ambitious plans for a £30 million leisure park on the banks of Loch Lomond has vowed to “rectify issues that arise” following the project’s first public consultation.

More than 200 people attended a two-day consultation at Loch Lomond Shores on Friday and Saturday, with some members of the public raising concerns about roads infrastructure, environmental impact and potential loss of ancient woodland.

Local councillors gave mixed reactions to the plans, with a promised jobs boost appealing to some.

At the weekend event, audio visual aids were in place in one of the Lomond Shores units, while the public could also peruse the display stands which also helped illustrate the proposed development.

There were questionnaires for members of the public to fill out and return with questions surrounding a possible indoor water park, a mono rail station, pedestrian and cycle friendly routes – as well as the possibility of a 100m revolving viewing tower, which would dwarf the height of Drumkinnon Tower.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter:

The public view the plans at Loch Lomond Shores

The proposed development is on a 49-acre site at West Riverside, in Balloch, and plans include lodges, a 60-apartment boutique hotel, “glamping pods,” restaurants, a youth hostel, a 100m viewing tower – as well as other attractions.

Spearheading the consultation is Andy Miller, who grew up in Bonhill.

Mr Miller, son of well-known local minister Ian Miller, said: “We’re delighted that people have come out, which is what we want.

“Whether it’s people with a positive opinion, or whether it’s people with a negative opinion, we need it in order to get to where we want to be – which we hope suits as many people as possible.”

Some of the major concerns surrounding the proposal include the environmental impact such a development would have, as well as the roads infrastructure, based on increased traffic on the A82 and other support roads.

But Mr Miller insisted they are working hard to strike the right balance.

He said: “Flamingo Land in North Yorkshire is a wonderful site but would that work here? No.

“We want to use the wonderful benefits of this site, the ancient woodland, the magnificent views.

“We want to bring something here that everyone can be proud of because Loch Lomond is a magnificent location and this development could give people local opportunities.

“We are also working closely with West Dunbartonshire’s road people and we’ll try to rectify any issues that come up.”

And there are certainly more than a few people who think the proposals, as they stand, are far from satisfactory.

Arthur Donaldson, MBE, attended Friday’s consultation and he told the Reporter: “Given what it was before, it’s an improvement but I have a lot of concerns about what’s going to happen.

“At the end of the day it’s all very much about ‘if’ just now.

“One of the main things for me will be traffic control in the area.

“I am a member of the Loch Lomond Association, I fish the loch and have a boat on the loch.

“In the summer it can take me an hour to get from Dumbarton to my house and twice this year there’s been an accident on the stretch between Cameron House and the roundabout and they’ve put the traffic down by Helensburgh.

“I know there are some occasions when I am going to Loch Lomond that, if I am not past Dumbarton by 9.30am at the weekend, then forget about it. So that concerns me.

“I would have thought that, in this day and age, one of the things they would have been looked at an early stage would have been acquiring a piece of ground for park and ride, which is what they do in America.

“That’s only one issue. A lot of this will be suck it and see if it happens. There are far too many unknowns.”

He added: “Another concern is that this will go to a planning sub-committee but this is one of the biggest things that will ever happen- if it does happen.”

Valerie Rodger, from Balloch, welcomed the chance to see the proposals.

She said: “It’s good to know all the details beforehand. Because there’s no point in complaining after when it’s all done.

“I stay in Lomond Gardens and this would bring in more people to the area.

“But locally, traffic is an issue with cars parked on residential areas and sometimes you’re jammed in, so car parking is a problem.

“Although £30 million would do a lot for this area, there are many things that are concerning.”

Conservative Councillor for the Lomond ward Sally Page remains somewhat unsure over the proposals in their present state.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter:

Conservative Councillor Sally Page

She said: “I like parts of it, not all of it. I haven’t make up my mind about the whole project but I am in favour of bringing jobs.

“I am in favour of bringing affordable accommodation for families but is this the right area for such a development?

“It’s hard for me right now to come down on one side or the other but I am concerned about the infrastructure.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions but I will ask my two fellow ward councillors Martin (Rooney) and Jonathan (McColl) to have a meeting because the concern is there is being so much thrown at it at the moment.

“We need to stand back and not rush into it. This project needs huge consideration and more consideration.”

But Leven councillor Jim Bollan has fears over the loss of a beauty spot and public access.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter:

Councillor Jim Bollan, of the West Dunbartonshire Community Party

He said: “To lose the last piece of publicly owned ground west of the River Leven in Balloch to a Flamingo Land development would destroy the natural beauty of the southern most tip of Loch Lomond at Balloch.

“This land is owned by the public who have a right to freely roam over it.

“The proposed Flamingo Land site is huge and extends from the River Leven west-wards to the old Woodbank Hotel site, where another private housing estate will be constructed by Flamingo Land.

“Flamingo Land would be a gated development making the land private where local people would need to pay for access to the Loch shore and Drumkinnon Woods.

“At the consultation the Flamingo Land project manager confirmed that the majority of jobs will be part time, seasonal, and on zero hour contracts, the same as they are at Flamingo Land in Yorkshire.

“The hotel and leisure industry are rife with ZHC’s which are poverty inducing with no guaranteed hours, less employment rights, and you can be instantly dismissed without recourse. Is this what we want for our young folk locally?”

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter:

Hundreds of people attended the public consultation on Friday

He added: “Don’t let the money men and the unelected quango, the park authority, ruin this idyllic area which has been open, accessible and free for local people to use for generations.”

A further consultation will take place on December 4. It’s then understood the developers will go back to the Park Authority with a planning application around February next year.